February 20th, 2008
03:18 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Don't count Hillary Clinton out

The Clintons have bounced back before

The Clintons have bounced back before

(CNN) - The political momentum is clearly with Barack Obama. He has been impressive. But don’t count Hillary Clinton out yet - she has a formidable political machine and lots of ardent supporters.

Obama has won ten contests in a row - almost all of them by significant margins. But Clinton still has time to come back between now and March 4, when there are major contests in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. There is no doubt she is facing an uphill struggle, but it would be premature to say it’s over.

I say that as a reporter who has seen Bill and Hillary Clinton bounce back before. During the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign, he was considered politically dead after the Gennifer Flowers scandal erupted. But he overcame that and became “the comeback kid” in New Hampshire.

Her political viability was undermined dramatically when her disastrous health care initiative collapsed after he became president in 1993.

Some pundits began calling him a lame-duck in 1994 when the Democrats lost their majority in the House and Senate. But he came back to defeat Bob Dole in 1996 and won a second term.

Then, there were all the other scandals during his eight years in the White House, including Whitewater, Travelgate, Monica Lewinsky and impeachment. Some suggested he would have to resign. I was CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent then, and I remember those days vividly.

But Bill Clinton survived and even thrived. His job approval rating during his final year in the White House was in the mid-60s. President Bush’s right now is in the low-30s. And Hillary Clinton sailed to victory over Republican congressman Rick Lazio in 2000 in the New York Senate race - even though she had never really lived in New York, and many accused her of being a carpet-bagger.

In short, I think it’s fair to say she’s in serious political trouble right now. But given the Clintons’ history, it would be a mistake to say her quest for the presidency is over. If she manages to win in Texas and Ohio - and that still is possible - she will go on to Pennsylvania on April 22, and this roller coaster political season will continue.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (410 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Where's the beef, Wolf. Show us some mathematics that says Hillary still has a chance. You're keeping a race going that's over, sir. She has lost. She has no mathematical chance.

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Mike

    I agree!

    Hillary is in this to win it.

    I can't believe that so many of Mrs. Clintons supporters have abandoned her for what they believe to be "the next best thing."

    What happened to supporting your candidate, this race is far from over, we have two more debates yet, PLUS Hillary will win in both Texas and Ohio.

    It is experience that we need to run this country, and Hillary has the experience and the stamina to do it!

    It's time to move Hillary back into the White House and let her do what she does best.

    I can't wait to see Mrs. Clinton give her first interview as Commander In Chief.

    Hillary has worked for this, she has earned this, she deserves this!

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Jackson

    I believe that Hillary can do in Ohio and Texas what she did in Florida ... and that was a clear win.
    Obama keeps talking ... but saying nothing.

    Hillary '08

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. annabelle

    I personally believe that if Hillary does decide to stay in, she needs to change away from negative campaiging. I know this is unlikely, but I wish that she would remember that in the end, she and Obama are on the same team. The real battle is for the White House in November.

    I was a Hillary supporter, but she lost me. I'm deeply disappointed in how she's run her campaign. I know that I am not alone. And it will damage the Democratic Party if she does get the nomination via some type of backroom politicking. She is pushing for the Michigan and Florida votes to count in her favor, even though Obama was not even on the ballot in Michigan; this does not say much about her character as a potential world leader, that she would change teh rules after everyone has agreed to them simply to win.

    Hillary needs to consider how she will fare after this race if she doesn't get the nomination. By attacking Obama (and really, the people who voted for him in the process), she may seriously damage her images long term.

    I also think it's worth noting that I was a big Bill Clinton supporter, and I have been turned off by his behavior while campaigning for his wife.

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Brian


    You have to understand "news." Clinton was giving a speech as the results came in so as she was losing, she would be on television in Ohio, distracting people from her devastating loss. For CNN to play her speech for any longer would be falling directly into the trap she laid out for them.

    The most timely news last night was the winning of the Wisconsin primaries by Obama and McCain. Clinton's speech was not "new" or even relevant to the events that took place last night. Her primary goal was to DISTRACT voters from the events that took place.

    CNN was covering the most prominent, timely and relevant news at that moment. End of story.

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Sylvia

    Sad day for America
    So many Zombies are following Obama and have not idea what hell is headed our way
    please see Obama for the very dangerous, self centered man that is feeding you a "good speech"...all empty words
    you know he is the devil in a good suit
    open your eyes before it is too late

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Justin

    Thanks for reminding us about all the horrible things that went along with his presidency.

    Also, get over the speech thing. Yes, they cut over to his speech because he was the WINNER that night and it was his VICTORY speech. Had Clinton won, I can absolutely guarantee you hers would have been put first over his.

    AND PLEASE STOP SAYING ALL HE CAN DO IS GIVE SPEECHES! Speak for yourself instead of reciting the same tired rhetoric the Clinton campaign has. For someone who claims all Obama does is offer words, Hillary (and her supporters) keep restating the same words over and over and over again. Find a new argument, because that one obviously isn't working.

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Vasu Ranganathan

    I am a stauch democrat and a business owner. If the choice becomes Obama and Mccain in November, I would seriously consider voting for McCain. At the end of the day, experience MUST be a key deciding factor. It's the primary criteria I'd hire someone to work for me. Why would anyone do less for our country. Obama is an intelligent and articulate man. Now he needs to get the experience needed to become a world leader, and when he does, I will be the first to campaign and vote for him.

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. atlanta ga

    I also will vote for McCain if BO is the nomine and your right he is pompous.
    BTW how did the likes of Jack Cafferty snake his way onto the political panels on the Sit Rm.
    he is just full of venom and bitterness toward HRC.

    February 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. esther

    Wolf why don't you call Senator Obama on his lie about the Michigan primary: it was his choice to take his name off the ballot so now that he lost there he wants to remove the delegate votes Senator Clinton won removed. Who said we lived in a democratic country. Its time you so called journalists got real and checked your facts.

    February 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Claude

    If you believe Obama has no substance, please go to his website and study his accomplishments and policies. He has much sustance. Also, would someone please tell me what Clintons 35 years of experience is. She has yet to describe it. Fighting the Republicans is not experience its stupidity.

    February 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. AJ, IL

    I agree with you Wolf. Never underestimate the Clintons. They will use every tactic they can to win. Remember Hillary is the "say-anything and do-anything to win" candidate. I believe the Obama camp learned there lesson after New Hampshire, 'TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED'! The ten straight consecutive wins of Obama post-Super Tuesday just reinforces the Obama campaign to work harder. I know I am. I will donate more and call more to help the Obama campaign achieve its primary goal.

    Just to think, I have never been involved in political campaigning in my life.

    Obama in '08!

    February 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. rn

    It is amazing how the political spin machine works

    US media is a joke

    Mr. Blitzer, you are a journalist not a cheerleader!

    If Hilary was ahead in delegates and won 10 in a row, you guys would be singing good bye Obama. Instead all the headlines say how Hilary needs to turn around!!!!

    Shame on you CNN You have no integrity

    February 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. yoni...NYC

    What can I say? It's not over till it's over...it's not over till the fat lady sings? Like a basketball game...you feel good when your team makes a basket, when the other team makes a basket you get anxious...save your energy till the final minutes of the game...thanx for being so candid with your privileged insight...

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Free Ice Cream from Obama

    Yippee! Yippee! Yippee!
    It's Obammy for me!!
    All the jelly beans I want,
    and even the Ice Cream is free!

    But now it's time to pay the tab,
    where is that Obama cad?
    Oh it looks like I have to pay
    I get to pay the bill today,
    and all my ice cream's melted away!

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |

    I watched obama's speech last night when he was asking voters to please vote early and not wait to March 4. I had to wonder if this is because of the up coming debates. For all his denials I do believe he is afraid to debate Hillary because he has such little substance and taking the front runner position his flaws are starting to show. Watching his debates are like watching a pep rally at a High SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAME.

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Jaik , chicago, IL

    CNN makes more money if they can make it a close race by bolstering the underdog, closer race makes more coverage and more trumped up excitement, which leads to the intended result of higher ratings and advertising dollars. CNN went to garbage in the course of this primary season.

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. gumba

    I'm not counting her out, but... I was a Hillary supporter, and I would vote for her now if she is honestly and farely nominated. However, I voted for Obama (in California) and I will be supporting him all the way through November. The issue is and was CHANGE, ever since the last elections. Change everything and everyone. Throw out the bath water, the baby, the tub, and everyone involved in the nonsence of the last 7 years. We need REAL change, of everything, and everyone.

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. S drinkwater

    I only hope that you are correct that the democrats will wake up and get beyond the pretty boy image and vote for substance. I have to say that you Wolf are the only news person on CNN who actually covers the news, with comment,,not the other way around as most of your fellow workers do. Obama has gained all this attention mainly because of the type of comment coverage he has received at CNN. The selection of who gets to voice their opinions is interesting too.
    Please try to encourage your producers to promote more straight news covereage, and less direction of how people should think. Keep up the good work Wolf, you are in a sea of egomaniacs.

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. What?

    Wow! All I can say is WOW!!!!!

    Wolf, you just came across as a hypocrite. Are you running for office?

    You and the rest of the media SMEAR her for weeks on end and can't stop panting over Obama and then have the nerve to say 'don't count her out?' Is it green or red kool-aid in your cup?

    You even have a ticker that encourages white men not to vote for a woman and then say 'don't count her out.'


    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. BN

    I'm tired of hearing Obama saying the same thing over and over and over. His words are tied to nothing - bubbles floating in the air.

    McCain will take him down and the country will be no better off than it is now.

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Kelly, New York

    Where is CNN's coverage of the 80 different districts in Clinton's home state that failed to report any votes for Obama even in Harlem?

    February 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Jan in MI

    I totally agree that CNN needs to make an apology to Sen. Clinton and her team. I was watching her speech and couldn't believe they cut out in the middle to present Sen Obama's lengthy boring speech that went on forever. I was very upset.

    THere definitely is a pattern among the CNN commentators, they have annointed OBAMA.....and everything, and I mean everything, is blamed on the Clintons. It would be nice if just one time they would have something good to say about Pres Clinton and Hillary and Chelsea. Obama's wife doesn't get any flak for her comment about "her being very proud of her country for the first time".....it's just very unfair. Fair and Balanced CNN is not.

    February 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. anna

    Hilliary is washed and so his her husband. Sure Bill did some good things while he was in office but so did Bush and where did that leave us? All the attacts need to just go. It's stupid and childish, why cant they just run respectfully? I am for Obama simply because he represents true change neither McCaine or Clinton can say that. They sit and run a decent campaign until they start loosing or in MCaine case being fearfull of not being able to withstand the financial backing Obama has, the only way I would even consider voting and that is if Obama wins. Should it be Hilliary vs Mc Caine I will not vote in November!!

    February 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. E Fabian

    CNN make an apology? Never. At least not with all the Anti Hillary and Pro Obama discussions/footage running wild on CNN. Last night was the last time I will ever watch CNN. Not that it matters of course but the level of bias reporting taking place made me sick to my stomach.

    February 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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